Acting with unusual speed, but with their usual refusal to get involved, the Department of Defense (DOD) Inspector General Hotline denied the C-123 Veterans Association request for an investigation into the DOD-maintained Agent Orange exposure site list. Typically, investigations of this type can take a month or more but two days was all DOD needed to throw the issue back at the C-123 veterans, unresolved.
By simply stating that there was no reason to proceed, DOD closed out the complaint, despite reams of documents already submitted to the official responsible for the list, Air Force Lieutenant General Judith Fedder. General Fedder earlier denied the veterans' request when put directly to her, insisting there was not enough medical evidence to justify such a decision on her part. The veterans pointed out that the issue is not one of medical impact of the lingering Agent Orange, but the simple historical fact of their contamination.
Both DOD and the Department of Veterans Affairs have resisted acting on veterans' requests for action on the issue of C-123 contamination, despite confirmation of exposure provided by the CDC, National Institutes of Health and the US Public Health Service, and numerous universities and medical schools.
VA has arranged a review of the medical issues involved in the C-123 contamination, a study conducted by the Institute of Medicine, presently meeting in committee in Washington DC. Today's speaker before the committee's public session is Mr. Rick Weidman, Legislative Director for the Vietnam Veterans of America, which has threatened court action if resolution of the veterans' concerns is not forthcoming.